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Mayfield v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

June 1, 2015

BRANDY JEAN MAYFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

ORDER

NANETTE K. LAUGHREY, District Judge.

Before the Court is Plaintiff Brandy Mayfield's appeal of the Commissioner of Social Security's final decision denying her application for supplemental security income under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. [Doc. 9]. For the following reasons, the Commissioner's decision is affirmed.

I. Background

Mayfield was born in 1979 and has a ninth grade education. She alleges she became disabled on November 11, 2006. When she filed for benefits in September 2010, she alleged disability from the combined effects of a head injury, anxiety, memory, and impulsivity. [Tr. 165]. At Mayfield's hearings before an administrative law judge (ALJ) in March and October 2012, Mayfield also alleged that she suffered from panic attacks, back pain, migraines, muscle pain, and fibromyalgia. She stated that her concentration, memory, and anxiety were what bothered her the most. [Tr. 65].

A. Medical History and Related Testimony from Mayfield

Because Mayfield does not challenge the ALJ's conclusions regarding how her anxiety, panic attacks, or memory impairments affect her ability to work, the Court will focus on the medical history related to Mayfield's headaches/migraines, back pain, and fibromyalgia.

1. Headaches and Migraines

In January, March, and June 2006, Mayfield attended consultations for migraines. [Tr. 399-401]. In January 2006, her migraines were described as stable and in March and June 2006, Mayfield was described as "doing well" or "doing pretty good." Id. In April 2006, Mayfield went to the emergency room and received a pain relief injection for headaches. [Tr. 404].

Mayfield was in a car accident in November 2006. She complained of a headache, and a CT scan revealed swelling in the back of her scalp, but not acute intracranial hematoma. [Tr. 334]. A CT scan in mid-November revealed a left frontal subcutaneous hematoma. [Tr. 487]. In early December 2006, Mayfield complained of headaches, and in late December 2006, Mayfield stated that her headaches had improved. [Tr. 362-63].

In January 2007, Mayfield presented for a neurology consultation. She complained of headaches, but stated they had improved "a bit." [Tr. 379]. She stated that she sees halos around lights. Id. The specialist opined that Mayfield likely suffered from a concussion during the car accident. He recommended psychiatric treatment, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, stretching, and exercise. [Tr. 381]. Also in January 2007, Mayfield went to the emergency room complaining of a headache. [Tr. 385]. The physician observed that Mayfield was mildly distressed, but a CT scan was negative. Id. In March 2007, Mayfield received a pain relief injection for her headache. [Tr. 408].

Almost three years later, in January 2010, Mayfield was transported via ambulance to the emergency room after seeing an aura of green light and experiencing light headedness. [Tr. 294]. At the hospital, Mayfield stated that the symptoms - which were moderate - had resolved. Id. The physician observed that Mayfield experienced blurred vision and photophobia, but no headaches before, during, of after the aural episode. Id. The physician's assessment stated: "aura resolved; hepatitis B & C; severe nicotine addiction." [Tr. 296]. She was discharged with a recommendation to stop smoking, increase fluid intake, and take her Xanax as prescribed. Id. Ten months later, in October 2010, Mayfield went to the emergency room complaining of a headache lasting for three days. [Tr. 258]. However, Mayfield explained that the headache started after exposure to carbon monoxide. [Tr. 259]. The physician assessed acute gastroenteritis, dehydration, and headache. [Tr. 267].

At her first hearing in March 2012, Mayfield stated that she quit a part-time job she held in February 2012 cleaning at a courthouse because she started to experience vision loss and migraines and because she was stressed around people. [Tr. 60]. She stated that she has had migraines "for years" and experiences tunnel vision and light sensitivity. Id. She had not had a migraine since the previous month. When she has a migraine, she lies down and takes Tylenol. The migraines do not last long. Id.

2. Back Pain

After her car accident in November 2006, Mayfield complained of back pain. [Tr. 333]. A CT of the cervical spine showed no acute fracture. [Tr. 335]. In January 2007, Mayfield complained of back pain. In June 2008, Mayfield denied back pain and had normal spinal range of motion. [Tr. 432]. In August 2008 and February 2009, Mayfield complained of moderate, nonradiating back pain that was aggravated by bending and alleviated by a warm bath. [Tr. 434-41]. The physician assessed back pain and muscle spasms and prescribed a muscle relaxant as needed. Id. Mayfield complained in September 2009, and her physician recommended "good biomechanics" and exercise. [Tr. 221]. In December 2009 and March 2010, Mayfield complained of back pain. Examinations revealed bilateral thoracic and lumbar tenderness and muscle spasms. The physicians assessed chronic back pain and lumbar strain. [Tr. 287, 299-300, 569]. In March 2011, a lumbar x-ray was negative, but there was limited range of motion bilaterally, tenderness, lumbar and paraspinous muscle spasms after Mayfield fell in the shower. [Tr. 543-44]. Mayfield also complained in February and December 2012. [Tr. 594, 644].

At her hearing in March 2012, Mayfield testified that her back hurt when she worked once a week cleaning. [Tr. 59]. She testified that she had "really bad muscle pain for a long time" but that since she has been relaxing and taking care of herself, the pain is "a lot better." [Tr. 63]. Her back hurts "sometimes real bad." Id. She alleviates pain by taking a bath.

3. Fibromyalgia

In February 2012, Mayfield complained of anxiety. The "History of Present Illness" section states in part that "[t]he anxiety is associated with chronic pain (fibromyalgia)." [Tr. 619]. Mayfield rated her chronic pain at a 2. Fibromyalgia is not listed as a chronic problem in that record. Id. When the physician refused to write Mayfield a prescription for narcotic medication, citing previous infractions and prescription drug abuse, Mayfield became upset and "left the room hurriedly... before an exam could be performed." [Tr. 621]. In September 2012, Mayfield complained of fibromyalgia, the symptoms of which began four years earlier, and requested medication. [Tr. 625]. Mayfield complained of muscle weakness and joint pain, [Tr. 626], but an examination revealed normal range of motion, muscle strength, and stability in all extremities with no pain on inspection, [Tr. 628]. Mayfield's physician assessed fatigue, fibromyalgia, and generalized anxiety disorder but commented that Mayfield requested medication "for her chronic pain which she was given the [diagnosis] of fibromyalgia' by another practitioner who previously had her on narcotics...." [Tr. 628]. In October 2012, Mayfield requested medication for generalized body pain. [Tr. 634]. An examination revealed no back, neck or joint pain, no joint swelling, and no muscle weakness. [Tr. 636]. Her physician assessed fibromyalgia and wrote that he "discussed at length with patient why I will not prescribe her Vicodin for her pain." Id. Mayfield was tearful and insisted that she needed pain medication. Id. She was referred to a pain management clinic. A "Continuity of Care Record" created in December 2012, which documents Mayfield's diagnoses, lists fibromyalgia. [Tr. 611].

In March 2012, Mayfield testified that her muscle pain was "a lot better" and is alleviated by taking a bath. [Tr. 63]. She stated that one doctor diagnosed her with fibromyalgia while another doctor denied the diagnosis and attributed her muscle pain to depression. [Tr. 64]. At her hearing in October 2012, Mayfield stated that she had fibromyalgia and had to quit a job cleaning once a week because of muscle pain and the loss of her vehicle. [Tr. 42]. At her previous hearing in March 2012, Mayfield stated that her ...


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